Traveling through the great plains of the United States and Canada is an eye-opening experience. With the twinned highways, towns, cities, dams, etc. that scream of modern civilization, it is sometimes hard to believe that this was once the home of tens of thousands of plains bison.
The Native Americans relied on the bison for food, tools, shelter, warmth, everything. They used every part of the animal and only hunted what they needed to survive. They had many methods of bringing down the animals, but before the horse was introduced, they often used a “buffalo jump”. Natives would cause the bison herd to stampede, then they would ensure they would run right over the edge of a cliff. The bodies of the massive creatures would then plummet to the bottom, where native warriors would be able to easily kill any stunned creature that survived the fall.
As we stood at the top of one such buffalo jump near Great Falls, Montana, all I had to do was close my eyes and I could envision the solid mass of brown bodies bearing down, never realizing that the solid ground they trampled would soon come to an abrupt end. A little more imagination and I could even see the native warriors goading the bison on.
It reminded me of a little vision God gave me once. In my vision I also saw a stampeding mass heading over a cliff. The only thing was, this group wasn’t made up of bison. Rather, it was made up of an endless mass of human beings, charging forward, never realizing that their solid ground would soon end in an abrupt cliff. In the vision, I could clearly see the devil and his minions goading on the masses of humankind, driving them ever faster and faster towards the edge to fall into hell below.
There was one important difference, however, between the vision and the stampeding bison. In the vision, Jesus stood just at the sidelines, holding out His hands, begging the people to step out of the stampede to safety….
It is pretty easy to get depressed when you begin to contemplate the dark side of this world. When you think about the millions of babies that will never see the light of day; when you consider world hunger; when you think about human trafficking, child exploitation and suicide bombers; when you contemplate how drug use is rampaging, and along with it, suicide…. Yes, it’s pretty easy to get depressed. The world is truly stampeding, just like those bison of old, towards hell.
But do we truly have reason to be depressed? Saddened, perhaps, yes, but depressed? Hasn’t Jesus already made a way? And doesn’t He truly stand with arms outstretched, ready to pull us out of the stampede?
Meditate on the following verse:
“Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.” (Eph. 2:1-3 NLT)
Doesn’t that sound a lot like the stampeding bison, hurtling towards certain death?
Now consider 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (ESV)
Here we see Jesus standing on the sidelines, calling out to us to confess our sins, for when we do, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins!
Eph. 2 goes on to say, “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4-7 NLT)
Friends, we don’t have to be stampeding towards certain spiritual death. We have a choice! No matter where we are in the stampeding line of humanity, we can reach out to Jesus. We can confess our sins, and He will forgive us and cleanse us. He will give us life. He will give us the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness towards all of us who are united with Christ Jesus!
Get out of the stampede now! Accept Jesus’ offer! Why not answer theSaviour’s call today?
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “The Bison” mini-series, please click here!)